Research Profile: Satellite Imagery as Alternative Research for Investors


New  York – Research based on satellite imagery, is one interesting alternative to traditional forms of investment research. DigitalGlobe, is one of the players in the space currently providing investors with unique data and analysis based on satellite images.

One of DigitalGlobe’s projects targeted at investors involves analyzing satellite images of parking lot traffic at retailers to predict comps. The calculation is done using traffic as well as ticket price growth at large retailers across the country. Using these variables, DigitalGlobe’s solution has shed light on traffic and provided the financial services community with unique insights that suggest Walmart’s comps for the last quarter of the year may be negative.

DigitalGlobe has been a provider of commercial high resolution earth imagery products and services for the past 18 years, working for NASA, the US Department of Defense, Google, and Microsoft.  The firm offers up-to-date and historical earth imagery enabling customers to map, monitor and analyze the physical world. Its technology allows for global coverage, especially in the US and Western Europe where aerial coverage can be done literally wall-to-wall. Imagery of large objects such as containers, traffic, crops or machinery is ideal to uncover facts that hide behind the physical world.

In recent months, DigitalGlobe has started serving the buy-side community by creating a range of studies with relevance to various investment topics.  They have been tracking traffic in stores’ parking lots and then using regression analysis to predict Same Store Sales Comps.  DigitalGlobe has also done related work sizing shipping traffic at ports, oil refinery activity, mining output, conducting a crop yield analysis, and investigating the progress of overseas construction projects, among many others.

DigitalGlobe’s imagery is collected on a daily basis. Clients can have current and historical data and high-resolution imagery. Some of the insights offered to financial institutions by Digital Globe include:

–          Traffic and market share measurement

–          Regression-based comp forecasts

–          Promotion “traffic lift” measurement for company and competitors

–          New store traffic ramp-up measurement and forecasting

A customizable dashboard is available for investors interested in conducting searches by dates, periods, and location among many other segmentation criteria.  For more information on Digital Globe, please contact Ian Chodos, 303-684-1118,


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